There’s one at every party.
You know the guy or girl I’m talking about. They’re the ones trying way too hard to be socially accepted.
They talk your ear off about stuff you’re not remotely interested in. The big account they just landed at work, fabricated golf scores and their system for beating blackjack dealers in Vegas.
They work the room sharing the same stories with everyone. But they do not impress.
Their audience is more interested in getting a refill on cheese dip. Or anything else to escape their blather.
They think they’re being socially awesome. But the audience thinks they’re a bozo.
This is the guy or girl every business wants to avoid becoming on social media: the engagement impaired. There are two ways to be engagement impaired. One is by not engaging on social media at all. The other is by saying the wrong thing and winding up on the latest Buzzfeed list of worst social media mistakes. Neither is a very profitable option.
What are the best ways to engage your audience on social media? You’re not alone in wondering. Marketers ranked it second in what they most want to know about social media marketing. This comes from the newly published Social Media Marketing Industry Report 2014.
So, let’s take a look at how you can engage your audience without being a social media bozo.
9 tips for savvy social media engagement
Engagement on social media should help you shape dialogs that benefit your business, your brand and your customers. Here are nine tips to make you look socially savvy.
- Make sure your involvement on the Social Web is mapped to your business objectives. It sounds obvious, but if you don’t start with clear objectives it is easy to get lost in the conversation.
- Concentrate on social networks that offer the greatest rewards for you and your customers. Not every platform will be suitable for your business. Be where your customers and prospects are.
- Don’t think of social as your back up media channel. Think of it instead as the unifying element that connects your story to every communication channel. Fold social elements into all your marketing content.
- Communicate in the native language of each platform. Native content mimics everything that makes a platform attractive to an audience: aesthetics, design, tone, timing.
- Think micro-content. Create unique bits of information, inspiration, commentary or humor that you reimagine every day. Micro-content allows you to respond to conversations and current events in real time.
- Deliver authentic helpfulness. Be consistent in creating, contributing to, and reinforcing value and service.
- Don’t be a broadcaster. Social media posts should not speak AT audiences. Rather, they should interact with them as if talking to an audience of one.
- Make emotional connections. The best way to do that is by gauging the pain points and frustrations, as well as expressions of contentment by your audience.
- Don’t think in terms of marketing campaigns. Make the content you share part of a day-to-day conversation.
Starting smart with social media marketing
On social media it takes time to develop relationships that lead to sales. How can you get off to a smart start that benefits your business?
In his book Social Media Explained, Mark Schaefer outlines the three elements behind every social media success story. It’s a winning formula for getting started on the right track:
Targeted connections + Meaningful content + Authentic helpfulness = Business benefit
- Targeted connections. “Behind every social media success there has to be both a content strategy and a network strategy,” Schaefer writes. You have to systematically build a relevant network to amplify your reach on social media. Many companies overlook this.
- Meaningful content. Original content is the fuel that drives your social media marketing. It builds trust, credibility and influence for your brand. To engage your audience your content must be useful, relevant and entertaining.
- Authentic helpfulness. People are on social media to be social. They can sniff out self-promoting content like a busted sewer line on a hot summer day. And they will have the same reaction to it. But they will connect with you if you help them improve their lives. Be a resource that helps them make more money, save money, have more fun or be happier.
Social media is a necessary component of doing business today. But the conversations need to be more social, less sales pitch. Engaging your audience on social networks is more like interacting at a party. Push too hard and you come off like a bozo.